Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Children of God

I'm the mother of four grown children, and I would have to say that although raising them was at times very challenging, I love them so dearly, so deeply, that there isn't anything I wouldn't do for them.
When they were little, they were so cute; watching them learn to walk, to talk, and to develop their own distinct personalities. And now I'm privileged to see my oldest two raising their own children. It's so funny to hear the echos of things I've taught them that they are now passing on themselves.  There were times in their adolescence that tried the very limits of my patience, but I still loved them.
As I was reading these verses, it occurred to me how very much our Father must love us to call us his children.  What an honor, what a blessing, what joy, to know that he loves us this much.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.-John 1:12-13.
When I think back on my own life and the struggles I've had, I must have been a very difficult child of God at times. But as a mother and father know their children intimately and continue to love them, so does our Father in heaven. After all, he created each of us unique; he knows our strengths and he knows our weaknesses.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.- Psalm 139:13-14
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!...-1John 3:1
How great a love indeed.
As always, wishing you all blessings.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The very least of us

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you have me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'-Matthew 25:34-40
It's easy to walk on by. Maybe sometimes we drop a few coins or even a dollar in their cup.  But as children of God, we have more to give, something infinitely more precious. Hope. We can stop for a moment and talk with them; look them in their eyes, ask their name, and ask if there is something we can pray for for them.  I usually ask if I can pray with them right there or if they'd be more comfortable if I did it later. If they'll let me, I simply take their hands in mine and pray right then and there. And trust me in this: I'm the one who walks away blessed.
.Every one of these people are children of God.  Remember, love is action: it doesn't take much to offer prayer, and then come back with a sandwich and a bottle of cold water.  We need to see them through the eyes of our Father, and when we do, we'll see them much differently. We'll see them through eyes of love.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak- Isaiah 40:29

Father, for those who have nothing...please use us, the body of Christ on earth to continue your work in caring for the poor and needy.

Wishing you all blessings.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Which is the greatest commandment?

So, which is the most important?  Jesus answered this in Matthew:

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:34-40
Under the Law, there were 613 rules to live by.  I love how Jesus was able to simplify Law down to these two!
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."-John 15:9-12
The outward sign of our relationship with our Father should be love.  Not just for those who love us, but for all.  In my recent post "Make my life a song" I included a video called Proof of Your Love by For King and Country that makes 1 Corinthians 13, the classic definition of love, into a song.  If you haven't heard it, take a listen.  Love is what should define us.
The world tends to view the church as judgmental finger pointers, and there is unfortunately some truth to that.  But we would do well to remember Matthew 7:1-2: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, your will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
I believe I'll leave the judging to the one whose job it is to do that when the time has come.  Our job is to spend our time here loving the people who cross our paths.
We often never know the stories of the people we come across in passing.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say that those who are homeless "chose" to be so.  Maybe.  But 23 years ago I was homeless myself and there was a whole lot more to the story.  

Wishing you all blessings. Love one another!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Encouraging Words!

Here's some encouragement, straight from the Word:
Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.-Psalm 96:2
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.-Psalm 28:7
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
-Psalm 100:5
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.-
2 Corinthians 4:17
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!- 1 John 3:1
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. -Ephesians 3:14-20

Be blessed and rejoice, you who are children of the King! And if you're not, he's knocking on the door to your heart right now, ready to forgive you, fill you with the Holy Spirit and fill your life with a love that is unimaginable.  Click on the link "salvation."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Make my life a song

Father, make my life a song
A song to you of my love
Let me do your will here
As it's done above
Let me show kindness
All to bring glory to you
Let me bring hope to others
In all that I say and do
You're my strength
My rock and my shield
Make my life a song
In love, to you I yield
And as I go forth
Let me reflect your spirit
Drawing others to you
To all who will hear it
Father, make my life a song
A song to you of my love
Until we are reunited
In our home, above
And though I love you
From the depths of my soul
You loved me first
And your love made me whole

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Learning to be the Light

I've been hearing this song by Newworldson quite a bit lately on Christian radio, and I wanted to share it with you.  It talks about to learning to live the Christian life, and it's really upbeat.  The Bible often contrasts life without God as being in darkness, and walking with him as walking in the light, and I think that it's a perfect analogy.  Without him we are stumbling around our lives, trying the best we can, but we can't see where we are going. We can easily walk right off the edge of a cliff, and often times do. But when we let him in we see his purpose and plan.  It's the difference between night and day.

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Keep walking in the light, and let it shine before all men!  Being able to step from darkness to light is a gift too precious not to share.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Looking Forward

One of the great things about being Christian is being sure of where we're going after this life.  It's such a comfort to know that the trials we all go through are a temporary circumstance, and one day we'll see him face to face.  What a day that will be!  We get a glimpse of what it will be like in Revelation 21:3-4   And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning of crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
I so look forward to that day!  This current body of mine has quite a few health problems (I have gastroparesis syndrome, and I live with a tube coming out of my stomach.) What a joy it will be to get out of this body and into a perfect one.  I've been ill with this syndrome for ten years and it has taught me a lot, especially patience, but I'll sure be happy to get a new one.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hears and strengthen you in every good deed and work.- 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

And- Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.- Joshua 1:9

What more could we ask for?

Carrying On

One of my favorite verses is: In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?  Psalm 118:5-6
What indeed?

As I was reading this verse this morning the part that really struck me was "he answered by setting me free." If I truly trust him, then I am free from fear. Free from loneliness; our Father is kind, faithful, and will give us comfort.  For this an active prayer life is essential.  And most importantly, we're free from sin through the grace of God. In this world we are certain to have trouble and painful circumstances like I'm facing right now. But our circumstances need not dictate our emotions.  Even in the face of incredible loss and tragedy, our Father will carry us through and give us peace that passes understanding.
Truly, we are just passing through this world, and this is our time to grow spiritually.  This world is a place where we prepare for our true life, in eternity.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4
I know that's a tall order.  But consider...if life were without trials, how would we grow and mature?  Like an infant determined to walk, we're bound to bonk our heads many a time.  But when we persevere in our faith, we grow.

One other thing I know: when the Lord closes one door, it's usually because he has a different one he's holding open for me.  I just need to search his word and pray to find his will.  As for this life:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap of store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor of spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat? or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.- 
Matthew 6:26-34

If we just keep putting one foot in front of the other, at the end of the road is home!
Wishing you all the blessings our Father has.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Though anguish burns like hot coals in my soul
Though it feels the world has turned it's back
My strength comes from the Lord who makes me whole
My hope is in him alone; people can't help but fail 
Though my heart is breaking, someday he'll wipe my tears away
I know he is beside me and loves me
And he always hears every word I pray
I know he is beside me and loves me
Even when it's hard to love myself
Until I finish walking this long road home.
Persevere, my heart
Persevere, my feet
Let me learn your patience
And Father, would you just carry me
for a bit
Until joy returns again....

This song was written by Steven Curtis Chapman after his daughter died, and it's been on my mind all day.  I hope you enjoy it.  No matter what this world dishes out, we're going home someday.  Some days it feels like such a long way....but take heart! He has overcome the world.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Devil's Playground; Ministry to the Ladies of the Night

On every first and third Friday night I have been going out with a ministry from my church called Magdalene Hope.  We drive up and down the "stroll" and minister to the prostitutes we come across.  Our pastor knows many of them by name and where they hang out, as he started this ministry about three years ago because he felt the Lord was calling on him to help these women.

The first thing we do is put together gift bags.  They contain cards with every number that they can call for help, and we also include a gospel of John, a CD of worship music and other items that will make them feel good about themselves: candy, inexpensive jewelry items, and hygiene items.  After we put the bags together we spend time preparing spiritually.  We read the word and then worship in song followed by prayer. We examine ourselves for any sin and confess it privately and then pray together as a group.   It's essential; we rely on our Father to put the right women in our path and to soften their hearts.  When walking in the devils' playground it's essential to go forth in spiritual strength.

We load up into a van, and so that we don't overwhelm the women, the person in the front passenger seat does the talking.  When we find a young woman working, the front passenger calls to her and asks if she'd like a gift bag.  Most of all we want to get those phone numbers into her hands!  While they are talking, those of us in the back pray silently.

The last night we went out we made a lot of contacts and many allowed pastor to pray for them.  After we leave the woman, we add her name to a list and what she requested prayer for so that we can continue praying for her.  The most common request is for safety and a way out.  We are hoping to have a safe house for them soon.

Please send up some prayers for these women if you feel led to. They are all in desperate circumstances.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

Out in the street, fireworks are exploding in celebration of our freedom!

Speaking of freedom, the most exquisite freedom we have is the freedom from condemnation, the freedom that comes from our Lords' sacrifice for us on the cross.  No freedom compares to it!
As I sit at my computer, I hear the crackling and booming of the fireworks and I thank my God for the sacrifice he gave for us.

I can hardly believe it's been 30 days since I've blogged.  But it's been a very productive 30 days!
Let me bring you up to date, because it's been an exciting time.  It all started when I stopped by my grandmothers house to visit.  She lives with my aunt and nephew, and we just visiting and catching up when all of a sudden a young man, Garry, a friend of my nephew, came bursting in, his face glowing with joy. "You all won't believe this," he said. " I went to church last Sunday and I accepted Christ as my savior and I'm to be baptized this next Sunday!"
I found out later that this was a young man with a lot of problems. He'd been on drugs and on the wrong path altogether. But the Lord had turned his life all around.
"Congratulations," I told him. "What church did you find?"
Lo and behold, it was mine!  Coincidence? I don't think so. "Do you have a ride?" I asked him.  For years I have been taking anyone who wants to go.
"That's the only problem," he said. "I don't have a car."
"Not a problem." I told him.  "I'd be glad to take you."
And thus began a fantastic friendship. We began going every Sunday and Wednesday, and the very next Sunday his girlfriend accepted Christ as her savior as well.  They have three little children aged 5,2, and 10 months.  We meet together often to read the word, pray, and fellowship. We've gone fishing several times, and this past weekend we went on a great camping trip.
And talk about blessings! A week after he turned his life over to the Lord, he landed a job in the oilfields, making a very decent wage.
Our father is good indeed!
So that's what I've been up to.  And we have decided to start a home bible study right here in my home, something I've wanted to do for some time. We are going to start meeting together every Thursday, as I've decided to keep a Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  Not that we are under the law; I want to do it as an expression of my love for my Lord.
Something else I've been up to....since visiting Israel a year ago, I've developed a passion to learn to read and speak Hebrew.  Again, as an expression of love.  It has greatly enriched my life. I'm sure you'll recognize the verse, John 3:16. I hope it will bless you as it has me. :)

I welcome your comments!